28th September, 2021 TONGAN The Tonga Meteorological Services has issued a Drought Alert for Niuatoputapu. The drought alert for Niuatoputapu is based on the amount of rain that has fell in the past 3 weeks which has been extremely low and reports of water deficiency and drought conditions in the island that has shown impacts in water supplies and in most areas in the island. Also the rainfall forecast for the next 10 days is biased towards below average rainfall.
Rainfall has been very low, from the last week of August to the 5th of September 2021, there was only 1.0mm recorded. Because we are still in the dry season and with the 10 day predictions pointing to drier conditions, Niuatoputapu Island Groups are placed under drought alerts, water rationing measures should start to be put in place.
Advise to Rainfall Sensitive Sectors
Households are advised to closely monitor and look after your water supply in the 3 to 6months. If your water supply is rainwater only consider rationing and prioritizing your water usage for drinking, cooking and WASH only, preserve water and collect as much rain water as possible by following the latest weather forecasts and reacting to forecasted rainfall events by collecting as much rain water as possible.
Careful drought planning and actions needs to be implemented now like the following:
- Prepare enough water if it can be spared for irrigating of water dependent crops
- Apply mulching to the soil around crops to keep as much soil moisture in the ground
- Plant drought resistant crops over the next 6 months e.g. cassava and lose yam
- Discuss with your local MAFFF Extension Officer on how to safeguard your crops from drought
- Follow the 10-day rainfall forecast provided by the Met Office daily
Drought especially prolonged drought always brings with it health risks. Drinking and using contaminated water could result in illnesses such as diarrhea and typhoid. And some skin diseases could be experienced due to lack of water for proper sanitation. Consider, boiling drinking water from water catchments. For those who pump ground water for usage, please consult with the Geology Division of the Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources on proper pump and ground water management during drought situations if prolonged dry periods are experienced.
Town Officers and NGOs please work closely with your communities’ groups to monitor and gauge the water availability and report to NEMO or MIA any water shortages or difficulties that start to arise.
For more information on this media release, please do not hesitate to contact our Meteorological office at 0800638 or visit our Face book page (Tonga Meteorological Services) or by email at email@example.com for more information.